Perhaps the most frustrating thing about being mired in the 99% is that due to the prevalence of reality-distorting TV and the booming personal security business, we really have no idea what it's like to be Mitt Romney, Donald Trump or one of the Koch brothers. At least in the olden days, we plebs could point and stare, mouths agape as the robber barons rode through city streets in their jewel-encrusted carriages. But today? Good luck catching a glimpse of Trump's platinum-dipped Maybach or the plutonium-burning hovercrafts that the Koch's use to fly to their secret Tea Party Illuminati meetings.

What's that? Rich people buy their cars at dealerships just like we do?

Yep, and according to a new study from TrueCar, Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags don't go in for luxury models nearly as completely as you'd think. TrueCar has released a list of the top 10 most popular cars in the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S. and, shockingly enough, half the vehicles on it are mainstream models from Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen.

As you would expect, a Mercedes-Benz is indeed at the top of the list, but note that it's the E-Class rather than the S-Class. Runner-up was the BMW 3 Series, just ahead of the C-Class. Fourth place went to the Lexus RX, and fifth to the Toyota Prius. Then the real commonplace models take over, with the Volkswagen Jetta in sixth, the Honda CR-V and Accord in seventh and eighth, and the Toyota Camry taking ninth. The BMW X5 wraps up the list in 10th place.

What this tells us is that the rich are clearly not stupid, choosing to buy the same sorts of vehicles that the rest of us do, models with good reputations for quality and value. Either that or they're paying their servants in cars.
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TrueCar.com Study Identifies Top 10 Vehicles in Wealthiest Zip Codes
Half of Vehicles are Non-Luxury Brands; Only Two Vehicles Over $50K


Just because you're wealthy doesn't mean you drive the flashiest car on the block, according to a recent TrueCar.com study that reviewed the top vehicles purchased in the wealthiest zip codes. While admittedly, luxury cars may fit into the stereotype lifestyles of these rich and famous, TrueCar data shows there are plenty of wealthy consumers who opt to drive mainstream brands.

TrueCar.com, the authority on new car pricing, trends and forecasting information, examined the car buying preferences of residents in the 10 wealthiest zip codes in the United States, as determined by the Internal Revenue Service to determine the most 10 most popular vehicles sold in America's wealthiest neighborhoods.

Among the top 10 most popular vehicles in America's wealthiest neighborhoods, half are non-luxury vehicles. And in a demographic where a car budget doesn't seem to be much of a concern, all vehicles are priced less than $50,000 - with the exception of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW X5.

Some of the key findings in the data include:

• The Toyota Prius was the most popular vehicle in Ross and Century City, Calif.
• Of the top five vehicles purchased in Downtown Chicago, none were from luxury brands
• The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was the most expensive model purchased in top ten wealthiest Zip codes
• Manhattan represents the city with the wealthiest zip code and the most popular vehicle purchased was the Mercedes-Benz E-Class while the Honda CR-V rounds out the top five
• SUV's are popular in Greenwich, Conn. with four out of the top five
• The Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey are the only two minivans to make the top five purchased by residents in Medina, Wash.

"Luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus are the top choice for the well-off, but with wealth often comes freedom of choice. The data demonstrates, that wealthy consumers of today make value a top priority as half the vehicles purchased are from mainstream brands including Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen that offer the best in vehicle amenities and comfort that near those of some luxury models," said Kristen Andersson, Senior Analyst at TrueCar.com. "For affluent buyers who live in places where environmental concerns reign supreme, the Toyota Prius is the ultimate status symbol in eco-luxury."

Most Popular Cars Sold in America's Wealthiest Zip Codes
Rank Make/Model Segment MSRP* Market Average** % Discount
from MSRP†
1 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Luxury Car $51,365 $48,068 6.4%
2 BMW 328 Luxury Car $35,795 $34,461 3.7%
3 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Luxury Car $36,095 $34,144 5.4%
4 Lexus RX Luxury SUV $39,950 $37,628 5.8%
5 Toyota Prius Small Car $30,565 $29,525 3.4%
6 Volkswagen Jetta Small Car $26,085 $24,978 4.2%
7 Honda CR-V Midsize SUV $29,575 $28,875 2.4%
8 Honda Accord Midsize Car $23,070 $21,210 8.1%
9 Toyota Camry Midsize Car $25,535 $23,871 6.5%
10 BMW X5 Luxury SUV $58,595 $54,995 6.1%

Wealthiest Zips data based on IRS Tax table. Filtered for zip codes with 1,000 returns or more. If the particular zip code didn't have a large enough sample size, it was expanded to include surrounding zip codes. Zip codes are in the file that are associated to the location. *MSRP is based on the most popular trim.**Market Average is estimated based on the national average of recent vehicle transactions, including destination and delivery charges after incentives that are subject to change, but does not include tax, title, licensing, documentation or processing fees, other state and governmental charges and/or fees, or any other charges or fees allowed by law. †Percent Discount is rounded to the nearest tenth.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 136 Comments
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rich guys didn't get rich by throwing money away on cars that'll lose tens of thousands of dollars in value in the blink of an eye. They got rich by making smart choices with their money (among many other things). Usually the only people you see sporting Lambos and Bentleys are celebs and other new money knuckleheads who will be broke in 10 years anyway.
        DC Mike
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        You're confusing "rich" with "wealthy". "Wealthy" spends $175k on a car without blinking and will probably do so again in 2-3 years. Because "wealthy" made multi-millions last year. Made multi-millions this year. Will make multi-millions next year. "Wealthy" invests money safely, yet doesn't come close to spending his/her disposable income. The unspent disposable income after a few years results in "wealthy" sitting on money. Money that "wealthy" can spend in $200k clips without breaking a sweat. It's so much money that it would be like "upper-upper-middle class" going shopping for a new laptop. "Rich" is well off and comfortable... but must still be cautious because a few rainy days can stop the parade.
          ashwats
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DC Mike
          Reminds me of Chris Rock joke.
      Alex
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is by far the most idiotic and political slanted article in autoblog. Like various viewers have said this is an autoblog and we expect to be that way.
      merlot066
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just because a zip code is wealthy doesn't mean everybody living there is filthy rich. Donald Trump could probably move to Camden and it would instantly become a "wealthy zip code" just because his insane wealth would probably skew the avearage so much.
        Bruce Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @merlot066
        At least in the NYC zip code mentioned anybody who can own a car there is going to be wealthy since parking is like $600 a month and the rent ain't cheap either.
      chamo416
      • 2 Years Ago
      What?? There are plenty rich Democrats too!!! Come on.. give us the Auto news.. I watch CNN and Fox news for Politics.
      Matthew Scholten
      • 2 Years Ago
      Old news. Dr. Thomas Stanley's "The Millionaire Next Door" showed this fact years ago. Stop blogging, go read a book. http://www.thomasjstanley.com/
      Indubitably
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmm... all the rich people I know are cheap as F***! Also, they don't give a crap about cars so they just buy something to get them from A to B comfortably which is why most of them own Lexus RX's.
      anonymous guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just goes to show you that people with money don't need to impress anyone with glitz so they go with what works best for their money. That's usually a mainstream vehicle that lands right in the middle of the luxury class.
      starryknight936
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hi...After reading so many posts of different points of view concerning this subject I decided to contribute with my own spin of what I have learned to bet true, speaking for myself. Some years back I met a business woman who dealt with high rollers such as teachers, doctors, judges, etc...those considered the wealthy and well to do. Our conversation finally centered on what they drive, since many lived outside of New York City. She mentioned, to my surprise, that the majority drove nondescript vehicles...the type that you would NEVER think a rich person would drive, let alone own. Plus she said that during her observations many who owned upper level automobiles, such as Caddys, BMWs, and alike, were low income, hand to mouth/living paycheck to paycheck owners trying ever so hard to belie their money earning status...and I'm NOT referring specifically to any race in particular...it's a general mix of ALL types. Speaking for myself that conversation remained in mind, and I've noticed that what she said IS true. Out of fear of being jacked, or whatever, I've notice that she was right. The well to do need not impress anyone with what they drive. It's the plebeian who needs to impress. I read that even Warren Buffetbe drives a 1987 Lincoln TownCar and when asked why he does not own a more expensive, suitable vehicle for someone of his financial magnitude he replied, "because it's comfortable." Another AB post I read sometime ago concerning the 2013 Nissan Versa sedan concerned an individual who said he could afford a Ferrari, I think it was, and decided to buy the Versa sedan to use as a runabout when in NYC. Why? He had no need to "flash", so to speak. I agree with his concept, and upon purchasing my new set of wheels I too will play it low keyed and smart. Just saying...not because I'm cheap, but there are other things to splurge on besides an automobile. I speak for myself and don't expect my point of view to be all that popular with all of you out there in AB land. Just sharing my spin on this subject. Peace! AladdinSane
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Warren Buffet drives a Cadillac DTS I think.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        He does. I actually feel bad for his automotive decision. The DTS is a terrible vehicle, it doesn't even have that great of an interior.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Morgan Reale
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another bullshit press release that doesn't relate to anything.... should be called BS-CAR not TrueCar First you can't measure in cities like "Manhattan" that don't require car transportation.. . mass transit or its more popular to be driven then to drive... I live in Miami - and BMW & Mercedes own this city - It seems that people drive deals more then what they want.. Mercedes E class has been marketed heavily - It was leasing for $400+/- per month for the past year.. and was the most sold Mercedes thus far.. so if you look in the normal areas thats what they are driving...
      gfviperman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Autoblog is like the vast majority of all media outlets: liberal and left. Can't we talk about cars????!!!!! This article is pathetic!!!!!
        RetrogradE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gfviperman
        And yet you read the article and commented on it. Go back to reading your Daily Worker if you don't like the content here. I will tell you that the Autoblog writers are much better than the kids writing over at Inside Line--those articles are written by kids on summer break from the middle school.
          A P
          • 2 Years Ago
          @RetrogradE
          BINGO....IL is filled with boobs as well as AB.
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gfviperman
        so true
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